This article originally appeared on the Idaho Education Association Blog on February 22, 2019
Legislation to Set $40,000 Minimum Starting Teacher Salary Advances
Gov. Brad Little’s bill, HB 153, which would raise Idaho’s minimum starting teacher salary to $40,000 over the next two years, passed the House Education Committee and will move to the House floor. IEA and Nampa Education Association member Samantha Eichner, testified in favor of the bill, noting she had to take three part-time jobs to make ends meet as an early career educator.
Little originally proposed moving to the $40,000 figure next year but lagging revenue collection due to tax law changes prompted him to stretch the changes out over two years. If approved, HB 153 would raise the minimum salary (not just allocation to districts) for beginning teachers to $38,500 in 2019-2020 and $40,000 in 2020-2021. It also creates raises for the other two “residency” rungs of the Career Ladder.
The IEA supported this legislation on the presumption it will help the state recruit new teachers. However, the Association also emphasizes the need for addressing the retention piece of the teacher shortage with increased compensation for veteran teachers. We have addressed the matter with the governor’s office and have the hope and expectation it will be prioritized by the new education task force.
The Times-News in Twin Falls did a story on this legislation that includes comments from IEA members and school/district administrators.
Bill to Allow State Funding for Teach for America Passes House Education Committee
The House Education Committee sent HB 93 to the House floor with a do pass recommendation after lengthy discussion and with four dissenting votes. The legislation would allow the state to provide matching funds to alternative certification programs such as Teach for America and ABCTE.
HB 93 is sponsored by Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, and Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, as a possible means of addressing Idaho’s severe teacher recruitment problem. Representatives Marshall, McCrostie, Moon, and Wisniewski voted against the legislation. Marshall and Moon both expressed support for TFA and alternative certification programs in general but said those programs should be self-sufficient. “These programs should not come with their hands out to the state for money,” said Marshall.
IEA President Kari Overall testified that the Association would prefer to see a broad, strategic approach utilizing Governor Little’s proposed education task force and based on the recommendations of the teacher pipeline workgroup. The IEA did not take a formal position on the bill. HB 93 will likely be heard on the House floor next week.
Loan Assistance Bill Introduced in the House Education Committee
A student loan assistance bill sponsored by three Democratic representatives, including IEA members Sally Toone and Janie Ward-Engelking, was introduced in the House Education Committee. The legislation would provide loan assistance for up to four years for educators working in rural schools. Ward-Engelking told the committee the bill has support from all the major stakeholder groups as well as the State Board of Education and the State Department of Education. According to the bill’s fiscal note, it would come with a cost of $1 million per year. This amount was not included in JFAC’s recent K-12 budget, but it could be funded through a trailer bill if it is approved by both chambers of the legislature.
Senate Ed Passes Mastery-Based Learning, Driver’s Training Bills
The Senate Education Committee took action on three bills, sending two to the Senate floor with do pass recommendations and sending another to the 14th order for amendments. Two bills put forward by Supt. Sherri Ybarra were passed unanimously—SB 1059, which would remove a cap on the number of districts that can participate in the state’s mastery-based education pilot, and SB 1108, which would increase the amount the state reimburses districts for driver’s education programs. SB 1104, sponsored by Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, was sent to the 14th order for amendments. That bill would enable educators who teach professional development classes to earn credits toward recertification.
Latest on Public School Funding Formula
The IEA continues to work with legislators and other education stakeholder groups on revising draft legislation relating to a proposed revamp of Idaho’s public school funding formula. As we shared in a previous IEA Hotline, there were numerous concerns raised during an initial listening session of the joint education committees.
While specific language is still being written, the IEA is emphasizing the importance of three pieces of the funding formula puzzle—sufficient funding to accompany any change in formula, retaining the Career Ladder, and ensuring that local associations and school districts will continue to collectively bargain master agreements.
Charter School Administrator Bill Passes Senate
SB 1058, which would relax requirements for charter schools in hiring administrators, passed the Senate floor in a 21-12 vote. The measure now moves over to the House side. Similar legislation passed the legislature last year but was vetoed by former Governor Butch Otter. The IEA opposes SB 1058.
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